[135 NJSuper Page 553] Plaintiffs Teamsters Local Union No. 11 (Union) and Frank Dodge, Jr. (Dodge) have filed a complaint and an order to show cause seeking the vacation of
an arbitration award pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:24-8. Defendant George Abad, t/a General Grocery Warehouse Co. (Abad), has filed a motion seeking dismissal of the complaint and a counterclaim seeking confirmation of the award.
The significant facts are not disputed. An arbitration award dated January 8, 1975 sustained the discharge of Dodge by his employer Abad. Admittedly, there was compliance by the parties to the existing collective bargaining agreement requirements. On September 24, 1974 Dodge was discharged on the grounds of a poor productivity record. John Wade and Salvatore Trimboli (Trimboli) testified on behalf of Abad at the arbitration hearing on December 11, 1974. The arbitrator issued his opinion on January 8, 1975, stating that "it was the clear thrust of the credible testimony that the grievant was not pulling his weight and that his work productivity was unsatisfactory."
On January 24, 1975 Trimboli was discharged by Abad. In an affidavit signed on April 2, 1975 Trimboli states that as warehouse manager for Abad he was told in August 1974 by Abad that "We have to start building a case against Frank Dodge. He is making too many waves for the company and nothing more than a troublemaker. We have to find reasons to fire him." Trimboli went on to state that he started to gather data from the production record of Dodge but found that about half of the daily production sheets were missing. Trimboli stated that he testified at the arbitration hearing knowing these records were missing. Trimboli produced a chart which indicated the production records of several employees, including Dodge, for a period of several months. This chart was introduced and represented to be a continuing record when, in fact, a number of the records were missing which was not so indicated on the chart.
Abad by affidavit denies he told Trimboli to "build a case against Frank Dodge." It should be noted that Abad does not deny the fact that certain production records were not produced nor is there a denial that the chart omitted to note the fact that there were missing records.
N.J.S.A. 2A:24-8 sets forth the circumstances under which an award may be vacated and in pertinent part reads:
The court shall vacate the award in any of the following cases:
a. Where the award was procured by corruption, fraud or undue means;
b. Where there was either evidence partiality or corruption in the arbitrators, or any thereof;
When an award is vacated and the time within which the agreement required the award to be made has not expired, the court may, in its discretion, direct a rehearing by the arbitrators.
Plaintiffs contend that although subsection (b) of N.J.S.A. 2A:24-8 is not applicable herein, it must be read in conjunction with subsection (a) thereof. Plaintiffs assert that subsection (b) provides for vacation of an award in the event of corruption on the part of the arbitrator. Subsection (a) also speaks in terms of corruption and plaintiffs contend that this should be interpreted to mean corruption on the part of the parties to the arbitration. Plaintiffs therefore allege that corruption and fraud on behalf of Abad ...